Responding to a speech delivered this morning by Vince Cable, Secretary of State of Business, Innovation and Skills, GuildHE Chief Executive, Alice Hynes said:

“GuildHE members heard the hard messages that Vince Cable was giving about cuts to higher education and his expectation that the HE sector will play its part in coping with public funding reductions and getting more engaged with the tides of change.

“However, we were pleased to also hear his continuing support for institutional autonomy and his recognition of the importance of enhancing student choice by increasing rather than diminishing the diversity of institutions and study options available to them.

“GuildHE also supports many of the ideas behind proposals for proportionate graduate contributions, but we would warn that introducing a graduate tax runs the risk that the additional money raised will not be used to support higher education.

“We are concerned, too, that the Secretary of State also questioned the need for increasing the number of higher educational places at a time when demand far outstrips supply, and we wonder how much he is aware of the extent of choice already available from a wide range of HE providers. GuildHE has been at the forefront of recognising the blurring between so called “Public and Private” HE provision and pressing for quality in the student experience so that what is purchased is of real value to the student.

“GuildHE members were also pleased to hear recognition that SME businesses would need to grow to secure Britain’s economic future. We call on the Department to work with its colleagues in other parts of Government to stimulate that growth and to ensure that universities and colleges are supported in the valuable contribution they make to SME development in their regions.

“GuildHE encourages the Secretary of State to go and see for himself the innovative teaching delivery and business interaction and economic regeneration that is produced by HE providers before jumping to any conclusions about institutional viability. We urge him to be in a position to speak from evidence of his own eyes when he faces Westminster colleagues, and help them understand the outcomes of the Review from Lord Browne, on which it seems ‘everything depends’.”

For more information, please contact:

Alice Hynes
GuildHE Chief Executive
Tel: 020 7387 7711

Notes to editors

1. GuildHE members are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in higher education. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please visit:

2. The transcript to Vince Cable’s speech can be found here